Ebenezer’s Brew Pub, a change of name and mission for the Lion’s Pride in Brunswick, is now serving five beers brewed by Michael LaCharite, and a lot more will come.
The brew pub has credibility from the start. It is a sister of Ebenezer’s Pub, a world-class beer bar owned by Chris and Jen Lively in Lovell, under the umbrella of Lively Brewing Company. And LaCharite has been brewing beer in Maine for 20 years, since founding Casco Bay Brewing in 1994, and was the first head brewer at Baxter Brewing in Lewiston. He also works for Tigpro, a stainless-steel fabrication company that has built brewing systems throughout New England.
The first five beers at Ebenezer’s Brew Pub include four American and English beer styles and one saison. This surprised me because Belgians are the specialty at the Lovell Ebenezer’s and the former Lion’s Pride.
“One reason we haven’t done English style beers is that they don’t travel well,” Chris Lively said when I visited the pub last week. “These beers are fresh, because they are made right here.”
Lively and LaCharite both say they will eventually brew Belgian beers, and they will be great because, Lively said, “Jen has the best palate in the world for Belgians. If a beer isn’t good, we’ll dump it.”
LaCharite’s job now includes setting up the seven-barrel brewing system, purchased from a Florida brewery that closed 10 years ago, brewing the first few beers and training Craig Dilger, his assistant.
“I don’t know yet,” LaCharite said when asked if he was going to stay on as permanent head brewer. ‘I’m here for as long as Chris wants me.”
While many brew pubs use a single yeast for their operations, LaCharite said Ebenezer’s used three different yeasts in the first five beers brewed and will bring in more, including Brettanomyces, when it starts brewing Belgians.
Ebenezer’s is planning to use the Lively connections to bring in guest brewers from all over the world to create beer at the Brunswick brewery. And the beer brewed in Brunswick will be on tap at the Lovell Ebenezer’s.
And now to the beers, which will be available to go in growlers as well as at the pubs.
The Dark Mild is a traditional English style, with very little hops, a dry malt flavor with hints of chocolate and molasses, wonderfully flavorful and dry at only 4.0 percent alcohol by volume.
“This is for when you want a beer at lunch,” LaCharite said, “or you can down a pint of it in four gulps” if you’ve been working outside and are parched.
The saison is 7.5 percent ABV, typical of the style, with a yeasty flavor and a bit of fruit and spice. LaChance said the beer includes some “secret ingredients,” but would not be more specific.
The ESB, or extra special bitter, like the dark mild is a British style, hoppier but still strong malt, and true to the style.
The red ale, named Hester, is a hybrid of traditional red and an IPA, made with the four Cs for hops. LaChance would not name them but they traditionally are Cascade, Chinook, Centennial and Columbus, but he did not say no when I mentioned Citra. This is a big and balanced beer at 6.7 percent ABV and my favorite of the group, although the Dark Mild was close.
I drank the American robust porter out of the tank. This will be 6.5 percent ABV if it fully attenuates (meaning all the sugar converts to alcohol), Dilger said, and is a big, rich porter with both roast and chocolate malts.
SHIPYARD AND ITS SISTER brewery Sea Dog each started selling new beers in bottles at the start of April. People who frequent Federal Jack’s in Kennebunk could have tasted both.
Sea Dog Sunfish is a wheat beer made with peaches and grapefruit, with 4.6 percent ABV.
“We decided to move it to the Sea Dog line because of its history of success with fruit beers,” Bruce Forsley, Shipyard vice president, said in a telephone interview. He said it really sold well at Federal Jack’s.
I tasted the beer at its launch party at the Fore Street Portland Pie and – although I usually do not like fruit beers – this was good. It is going to be a year-round beer, but I think it will be more popular in summer. Peach was the dominant flavor of the two fruits, but the grapefruit provided some background tartness.
I tasted the Shipyard American Pale Ale at its American launch last summer at Federal Jack’s. This beer was first brewed at Marston’s Brewery in England as a collaboration with Shipyard co-founder Alan Pugsley, and was sold there for all of 2013, taking advantage of the boom in American ales there. The beer has a complex hops profile, but is not as hoppy as Shipyard’s IPAs, including Monkey Fist, Fuggles and Black IPA.
Tom Atwell is a freelance writer living in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: